2018-05-10 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

Most people wouldn’t think of taking an eight-ounce kitten to the theater to see an Amy Schumer movie. Little Corona’s fairy godmothers didn’t hesitate to do so.

Last Thursday morning Last Hope got a call from Elaine, a teacher (who also happens to be a volunteer with our dogs), saying a tiny kitten was in the middle of her school parking lot in Corona, Queens. The timing was fortuitous because a cat clinic was about to begin at our Wantagh Adoption Center.

Volunteer Melanie (who also happens to be a physician) went to get the kitten, and explained: “I met her at the Cross Island Parkway and Jamaica Avenue to pick him up this morning. He’s only about two weeks old. He is quite sick, with abscessed eyes, sneezing, hypoglycemic. He was unconscious.”

She continued: “Back at Last Hope we were in the midst of a clinic. I gave him Karo syrup, sub-q fluids (fluids injected under the skin), put him on a heat disc and gave him a B-12 shot. Dr. Janet, our vet, examined him. We fed him formula with a syringe because he was too weak to take a bottle, cleaned his stuck-closed eyes. He ate well and soon was looking much better.”

Corona feeds from a syringe right after being rescued Corona feeds from a syringe right after being rescued It’s possible the mother cat was in the middle of moving her litter when something spooked her and Corona was left behind in the parking lot; or he was abandoned by his mom because he was ill. Chances are slim that he ventured off on his own. A steady source of warmth, glucose and fluids was needed to save him, and he got all three in the nick of time.

Thursday night was Last Hope Movie Night at the Bellmore Playhouse Theatre. Tickets to the movie were pre-sold as a fundraiser. Most everyone who could have cared for Corona was going to the movie, so the tiny tabby went too. He had an instant fan club because everyone in the audience was a rescue supporter.

Corona at the movie theater the same day Corona at the movie theater the same day Corona was wrapped in a little blanket and carried in tote bag “warmer” which belonged to Doreen, his soonto be foster mom. He enjoyed his first movie- “I Feel Pretty”- nestled in an aisle between all his new aunts - his “purrsonal” doctor, Aunt Melanie, “purrsonal” veterinarian, Aunt Janet, “purrsonal” wildlife rehabber, also a member of the feline medical team, Aunt Leslie, foster mom Doreen and Last Hope prez, Aunt Linda. He looked very content as they took turns cuddling him, and stayed in his tote bag cocoon until the ending credits when it was time for another syringe feeding.

Corona has at least eight weeks before he is ready for his own popcorn and adoption. We hope he is on the road to recovery toward a long, happy life and that he always remembers - On the day he was rescued, Last Hope treated him to a trip to the movies to see his first chick flick.

Traveling with fosters becomes second nature when tiny orphans need to be fed frequently. Anonymous volunteers confess to stashing orphan kittens or wild life in tote bags and taking them with them on errands to ShopRite, Kohl’s and other places.

Years ago I used to bring bottle baby kittens to school with me. They’d commute back and forth to Shirley, and in between trips, snuggle together in a carrier in my classroom. The students loved to watch them drink from the bottle. The kittens were never disruptive because most of the feedings were during my break or lunch. Nowadays, there’d probably be parental objections to this because of kids with allergies.

The one year I taught fourth grade, we were in a double portable classroom with a passageway between the two classrooms. My co-tenant teacher complained she was allergic even though there was little chance dander could travel between the two distant rooms, so the kittens stayed in the library office in the main part of the school.

I had another special part-time student. His name was Egghead, a feathered baby robin found in the parking lot on our way to the school buses one afternoon. He had frequent feedings of mashed dog kibble by tweezers and then graduated to worms. I told my husband years later I used to keep the bait store bounty in our refrigerator.

A tricky transition was Egghead’s acceptance of food from above as if his mother were bringing home takeout worms to teaching him to look down on the floor (ground) and discover the worms for himself. His feeding style had to change from expecting manna from heaven to finding self-serve.

Egghead would come to school with me in the beginning when he was eating the kibble concoction. He went with me to get my car inspected and waited patiently in his bird box for my carpool to pick us up. Eventually Egghead moved to a flight cage at Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and then was released in Oyster Bay- far enough away from my Afghan Hound, dogs of prey.

For Adoption at Last Hope (631-425-1884) 3300 Beltagh Ave, Wantagh: “Sabrina,” a three-year-old brindle Doxie/Chihuahua mix, loves kids and other dogs. She is a compact, family dog. “Apollo,” a one-year-old white Shepherd/Lab. He has a slim build and an optimistic, puppy outlook on life.

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